What Is the Healthiest Hot Dog?

Last Updated on February 20, 2023 by Lauren Beck

Hot dogs are a classic American food, enjoyed at ballparks, barbecues, and backyard gatherings. However, the traditional hot dog is known for being high in fat, sodium, and preservatives, making it a less-than-ideal choice for those looking to maintain a healthy diet. But, is it possible to enjoy a healthier hot dog? 

In this article, we’ll explore what is the healthiest hot dog brands, discuss what’s in a traditional hot dog, and offer tips on how to make a healthier choice when it comes to this beloved food.

15 Healthy Hot Dog Brands

  1. Applegate Farms
  2. Wellshire Farms
  3. Organic Prairie
  4. Teton Waters Ranch
  5. Niman Ranch
  6. The Honest Stand
  7. Oscar Mayer Selects
  8. Lightlife Smart Dogs
  9. Hebrew National 97% Fat Free
  10. Boar’s Head Beef Frankfurters
  11. Field Roast Grain Meat Frankfurters
  12. Ball Park Lean Beef Franks
  13. Trader Joe’s Uncured Beef Hot Dogs
  14. Nathan’s Famous Skinless Beef Franks
  15. Beyond Sausage

What’s In a Traditional Hot Dog?

Traditional hot dogs are made from a mixture of beef, pork, and chicken, along with various preservatives and additives. Some of the most common ingredients found in a traditional hot dog include:

  • Sodium nitrate and nitrite: These are used to preserve the color and flavor of the hot dog and are also linked to an increased risk of cancer.
  • High fructose corn syrup: This is added to sweeten the hot dog and is linked to obesity and other health issues.
  • Artificial flavors and colors: These are added to enhance the taste and appearance of the hot dog.
  • Sodium: Traditional hot dogs are very high in sodium, which can contribute to high blood pressure and other health issues.

What Is a Healthy Hot Dog to Eat?

A healthy hot dog is one that is made with high-quality, all-natural ingredients, and is free from preservatives and additives. Look for hot dogs that are made with grass-fed beef, organic chicken or turkey, or plant-based ingredients like soy or pea protein. 

Additionally, opt for hot dogs that are low in sodium and free from high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors.

Are 100% Beef Hot Dogs Healthy?

applegate beef hot dog

While 100% beef hot dogs may sound like a healthier option than those made from a mixture of meats, they can still be high in sodium and preservatives.

Additionally, many beef hot dogs are made from conventionally raised cows that have been treated with antibiotics and hormones. 

For a healthier option, look for hot dogs made from grass-fed beef that is free from antibiotics and hormones.

What Hot Dogs Are Not Processed?

Hot dogs are a processed food by definition, as they are made by combining various meats and additives.

However, there are healthier options available that are free from preservatives and other additives. 

Look for hot dogs that are made with all-natural ingredients and are minimally processed.

What Is a Healthy Substitute for Hot Dogs?

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to hot dogs, there are many options to choose from. Some healthy substitutes include:

  • Grilled chicken or turkey sausage
  • Veggie or tofu dogs
  • Portobello mushrooms or other grilled vegetables
  • Grilled fish or shrimp skewers

Are Turkey Hot Dogs Healthier Than Beef?

Turkey hot dogs are often marketed as a healthier option than beef hot dogs, as they are typically lower in fat and calories.

However, they can still be high in sodium and preservatives, so it’s important to read the labels carefully and choose turkey hot dogs that are free from additives and made with all-natural ingredients. 

Additionally, keep in mind that turkey hot dogs may be less flavorful than beef hot dogs, so you may need to add extra toppings or seasoning to make them tasty.

Is It Healthier to Boil Hot Dogs?

Boiling hot dogs is a popular cooking method, but it may not be the healthiest option. When you boil hot dogs, they can lose some of their flavor and nutrients, and they may absorb water and become soggy. 

Additionally, boiling hot dogs in water can increase the sodium content of the hot dog, which can be a concern for those watching their salt intake. Instead of boiling, try grilling or broiling hot dogs for a healthier and more flavorful cooking method.

Is a Hot Dog Healthier Than Pizza?

While neither hot dogs nor pizza are considered health foods, hot dogs are generally considered to be less healthy than pizza. This is because hot dogs are higher in fat and sodium than pizza, and are often made with low-quality meats and other additives. 

Additionally, hot dogs are often eaten on white bread buns, which can contribute to a high carbohydrate intake. Pizza, on the other hand, can be made with whole grain crust and topped with vegetables, making it a slightly healthier option.

Which Is Better Cured or Uncured Hot Dogs?

Cured hot dogs are those that have been preserved with nitrates or nitrites, while uncured hot dogs are free from these additives. 

While some people prefer uncured hot dogs because they are free from preservatives, there is no clear consensus on which type is healthier. Some studies suggest that consuming nitrates and nitrites in small amounts is not harmful, while others suggest that they may be linked to an increased risk of cancer [1]. 

If you are concerned about nitrates and nitrites, look for hot dogs that are labeled as “no nitrate” or “no nitrite added”.


Hot dogs are a beloved American food, but they are often associated with high levels of fat, sodium, and preservatives. However, with a little bit of research and some careful label reading, it is possible to find healthy hot dog options that are made with all-natural ingredients and are free from harmful additives. Look for hot dogs that are made with high-quality meats or plant-based ingredients, and that are low in sodium and free from high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors. And, as with all foods, enjoy hot dogs in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet.


Lauren Beck
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